In This Issue:

A Fresh Start for Muskoka!

October 23rd was a great day.

Across the District, voters cast their ballots in favour of protecting the Muskoka we all know and love.  We elected Mayors and Councillors who have promised to protect our lakes and the natural character of Muskoka for the benefit of future generations.  They have promised smart, long term economic growth that can only be accomplished if we work together as a community to safeguard a key driver of our economic prosperity - our environment.  We must put the environment first when making decisions. Our elected officials have also promised to spend our tax dollars wisely and efficiently and to work together to accomplish their mandate with respect and good governance.  

This is a fresh start for Muskoka! Many thanks to everyone who voted in the election.  

Some links that might be of interest:
  • Election Results* (here)
  • The Environment First Philosophy we believe should be embedded in Muskoka’s Official Plans, as it is in Seguin Township’s OP (click here)
  • Update on the District of Muskoka’s review of its Official Plan that will govern development for the next 20 years. (click here)
  • Rick Spence’s Published Opinion Piece: “Where will Muskoka’s jobs and prosperity come from?” (click here).
  • Huntsville adopts 4% tourism tax on room costs for hotels, motels and resorts, and intends to expand it to private cottages running a rental business on Airbnb or otherwise (Cottage Life article here).
  • Ontario’s Environment Commissioner releases her 2018 Environmental Protection Report, Back to Basics, outlining how the province can do much more to take care of the five W's - Water, Wetlands, Woodlands, Wildlife and Wilderness (Cottage Life article here).

*In our announcement of the election results on October 24th, we neglected to note that TML’s newly elected Ward C Councillors Susan Mazan and Gord Roberts are also Aligned Candidates. Our sincere apologies to Susan and Gord!

Inauguration of Township of Muskoka Lakes Council on December 3rd

The Inaugural Meeting of TML’s Council will be held at 11am on Monday, December 3rd in the Community Centre in Port Carling. Mayor-elect Phil Harding and TML’s 9 elected Councillors will be sworn in, and Mayor Harding will say a few words. Although we don’t encourage people to make a special trip to Port Carling, if you are planning to be in the area you may wish to attend. 

TML Mayor-elect Phil Harding’s Interview after his Landslide Win with 77% of the Vote over Incumbent Mayor Don Furniss 

In an interview of Mayor-elect Phil Harding conducted by reporter Agatha Farmer at, Mayor-elect Harding, when asked ‘What is the first order of business in 2019 for the new Muskoka Lakes council?’, replied: 

"With six of 10 new councillors, we need to quickly get council up to speed on all the issues in Muskoka Lakes. Moving into the new year, we also need to adopt a budget and start making plans for increased transparency as well as, where possible, supporting the newly formed steering committee on Minett."

When asked 'Which township issues are top of mind?'; he responded: 

“Respect. We need to respect others on council. We need to respect the staff. We need to respect the taxpayers and we need to respect the environment. At the core of any and all decisions we need to make sure we are respecting all. This is the core of good governance.”

Read the entire interview here.

Villas and MIST/Touchstone Hearing will Continue in April 2019

A hearing is being conducted into two developments on Lake Muskoka, Villas of Muskoka (formerly Tamwood Lodge) and Touchstone Resorts (formerly Aston Villas). 

The hearing, which will likely set a precedent for resorts across the District of Muskoka, began on November 7 - 9 in Bracebridge, but given the volume of evidence it will be continued on April 16 - 18, 2019. It is before the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (the successor to the Ontario Municipal Board). 

Click here for more information.

Legacy Cottages Announced a $22 million Civil Action against the Township of Muskoka Lakes on the First Day of Voting

On October 12, 2018 - the day that voting started for the municipal election - a representative of the Legacy Cottages development announced by press release that Legacy had filed on October 3rd a Notice of Action against TML in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for breach of contract, conspiracy, and negligence in preventing the Legacy development from proceeding as a result of TML’s Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL). However, the ICBL had been upheld in court in September, 2018.

TML Council had passed the ICBL on May 18, 2018, pausing development in Minett for 12 months while updated studies are done - other than development pursuant to Legacy’s 11 building permits that were issued before the ICBL was passed. Legacy claims $22 million in damages, plus punitive damages. 

Legacy’s developer had previously challenged the ICBL in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. On September 6, 2018, the judge upheld the ICBL, saying that it was properly passed by TML Council, and TML Council did not act in bad faith. The developer has appealed the decision, which will not likely be heard until August 2019, with a decision a few months thereafter.


Click here and bookmark our constantly updated calendar of events or click here to download and import / subscribe to the Friends of Muskoka calendar in your desktop or phone calendar application.
Head to to get updated news and information from the Friends of Muskoka campaign. The site lists many ways to help you preserve the natural environment and unique character of Muskoka, including information on how to contribute to the development of sustainable official plans for the District of Muskoka. For more frequent updates, follow us on Facebook
About Friends of Muskoka
Friends of Muskoka are a group of dedicated volunteers working to protect and to preserve the natural environment and unique character of Muskoka by promoting responsible use and development of its land and lakes. Friends of Muskoka believe that the environment IS the economy in Muskoka since millions of people come to Muskoka and invest here because of its clean water and natural, treed shorelines. Our lakes, forests and rivers are a resource that can drive Muskoka’s economy for decades to come if we put the environment first. To this end, Friends of Muskoka is trying to stop residential subdivisions on the waterfront in Muskoka and will work to enshrine sustainable development in the Municipal and District Official Plans.
Copyright © 2018 Friends of Muskoka, All rights reserved.

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